Terrorist Attack Near Moscow: Who Masterminds ISIS-K?

Since the bloodbath at the Crocus Concert Hall near Moscow on March 22, Russian President Putin has acknowledged on several occasions that the attack was carried out by Islamist terrorists, but posed the question as to who is behind them. On April 2, he stated that “We will get to those who masterminded this crime.”

The perpetrators, it is known, had been caught fleeing to Ukraine. On March 26, the head of the Russian Federal Security Service FSB, Alexander Bortnikov, told the press that Russia believes that the United States, Britain and Ukraine were behind the large-scale terrorist attack, which killed over 140 concert goers and injured over 500. For Russian expert Gilbert Doctorow from Belgium, this intervention was all the more extraordinary, as Bortnikov, a close associate of the president Putin, very rarely appears in public, and would not have spoken “without the approval of his boss”. Even after the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, the Russians never directly accused Washington or London of being responsible.

In Doctorow’s view, to say that the Russians are accusing Ukraine, is “missing the bigger issue: the Russians are accusing the United States, and Great Britain. And that puts us in a situation as critical as we were in the worst days of the Cuban Missile Crisis.”

***+OP CUT Moreover, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Russia has officially sent information requests to the U.S., Germany, France and Cyprus over Western countries’ potential involvement in terrorist attacks on Russia. ****

An interesting angle on the terrorist attack was also raised by former senior British diplomat Alastair Crooke, director of the Lebanon-based Conflicts Forum, in a March 28 article for Al Mayadeen. He points out that less than one hour after the shooting took place, the spokesman for the United States stated that it had been carried out by ISIS, and that “Ukraine wasn’t involved”.

“Why are Western states so certain? It is most unusual for intelligence services to pronounce within the hour. Though the actual perpetrators are now known, the key question remains: Who stands behind the attack?”

Crooke goes on to disclose that the ISIS-Khorasan, to which those Western states attribute sole responsibility, “has been operating for some years, more as a ‘rat-run’ extending from Türkiye to Syria; to Afghanistan and Iran. It is a franchise on behalf of which terrorist acts are committed, funds raised, and resources prepared… Behind ISIS have stood certain Muslim states – and their Western backers.”

Crooke discredits the idea the perpetrators are actually ideological supporters of ISIS, given their mode of operation. “They may have ostensibly been broadly Islamist, but were in reality mercenaries motivated by the lure of money. ISIS recruits expect and get martyrdom. These men simply jumped in a car, wanting to escape. In an ISIS operation, they would have continued the massacre – until shot dead.”

We would add that Alastair Crooke served for several decades in Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), carrying out sensitive operations, and knows how such operations are carried out.

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